Our political culture picks this month
This article is from the October 2012 issues of Total Politics
Set in the engine rooms of Westminster, James Graham’s This House strips politics down to the practical realities of those behind the scenes, focusing on the men who roll up their sleeves and, on occasion, bend the rules to shepherd and coerce a diverse chorus of MPs. The play is set in 1974, when the UK faced economic crisis and a hung parliament: “This country is being kept alive on aspirin when what it needs is electric shock therapy.” It’s a tense period; votes are won or lost by one vote, so every MP is on edge.
Cast includes Phil Daniels and Julian Wadham.
From 18 September to 1 December, National Theatre. Tickets available from the box office
Festival: The Times Cheltenham Literary Festival
The festival is host to some of the biggest names in publishing, politics, TV, radio, art, theatre and sport, including JK Rowling, Kofi Annan, Victoria Pendleton, Nigella Lawson and Sebastian Faulks. There are debates on controversial subjects, food and drink evenings, writing workshops and family activities. Recommended events include Masha Gessen talking about her book on Putin, The Man Without A Face, a debate on Russia to assess its relationship with the rest of the world, and a discussion, What Makes a Great Leader? by specialists such as Gavin Esler, Anne Applebaum and Jack Straw on the strengths and weaknesses of past and present world leaders.
From 5 to 14 October, Cheltenham, various venues. Tickets available online
Exhibition: The Lost Prince: The Life and Death of Henry Stuart
The Lost Prince is the first exhibition ever to examine in detail the life of Henry, Prince of Wales (1594–1612). It focuses on a remarkable period in British history, dominated by a prince whose early death precipitated widespread national grief and led to the accession to the throne of his younger brother, the doomed King Charles I. The exhibition marks the 400th anniversary of the prince’s death, and will assemble paintings, drawings, manuscripts, books, armour and other artefacts associated with the young nobleman to illustrate the creative community that developed under his patronage.
From 18 October 2012 to 13 January 2013, National Portrait Gallery